The complete short stories—including six previously uncollected works and one novella—of award-winning British literary giant Beryl Bainbridge.
From one of the United Kingdom’s most famed female novelists come nineteen different takes on the often cruel, usually comic, and utterly strange realities of human life and imagination. From the collection Mum and Mr Armitage is the eponymous tale in which two pranksters at a holiday resort play “harmless” jokes on the people and livestock that surround them—until they must pay the price for taking the fun too far.
In “The Longstop,” unspoken familial information collides with a game of cricket, and in “People for Lunch,” two lovers are ironically compelled to ruminate on the dilemmas of adultery. And among the previously uncollected work compiled here are “The Man from Wavertree” and “Poles Apart.” The former is a quick look into the eccentric world of Rose and her tenant, Purdy, who is trying to sell his motorbike. The latter tells the story of a popular woman in her late seventies who tells a lie in an attempt to get out of a Christmas party invitation, only to find out her fib has come true.
Collected Stories concludes with “Filthy Lucre,” a Victorian melodrama that author Beryl Bainbridge wrote when she was only thirteen. In this precocious tale, a dying man asks a friend to take revenge on the family he thinks has cheated him out of his inheritance. What follows is a surprisingly mature and thoroughly sensational tale of murder, deception, love, and treasure islands.
Called a “consummate storyteller” by the Sunday Times, Bainbridge was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize five times in her career, and is perhaps best known for her psychological novels The Bottle Factory Outing and Injury Time. However, her short fiction, hailed by the Times as “impressive,” is equally masterful.